Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Day Three-Sixty-Three: Pull it together

I noticed Philip floating by the barrier today. He was making faces through it, and gesturing quite rudely. All of his attacks were aimed at Bernard, whose head looks as mournful as ever while it peeks out of the shadows. No surprise - Bernard was hired to replace Philip after he died.

Heh. Died. I wonder if we'll all be ghosts like Philip. What turned him into a ghost in the first place…?

I have not mentioned my duties as mayor during this crisis. I suppose, before today, I did not think them much of anything. I've been in the same boat as everyone else, hiding away in the pub and praying for a miracle.

It was Bora, of all people, who recalled me to my old job.

I was laying listlessly on a cot, sipping on a glass of melted snow, when a shadow fell over me. I nearly spilled my glass all over her, 'cause I've been associating shadows with much less friendly things this week.

She grabbed the glass before I could drop it and sat down beside me. "Eesh, calm down. You're as freaked as the rest of 'em."

I took a breath, laughed, and snatched the glass back from her. "H… heh… well, whaddya think I should do? M… march out 'n tell… tell the penguin to v… vamoose?"

She pursed her lips. "You could. Or you could, y'know, act like a mayor 'n show these people a glimmer of hope. Even if that glimmer ain't much more than a fake."

Act like a mayor. I didn't know what that meant, so I laughed. Bitterly. "Hah. Mayor. Some… f… some fucking… mayor… I've been… f… fucked up so… so bad…"

Bora looked around the room. Then, dissatisfied by what she saw, or did not see, she slapped me on the back of the head.

"Ow!" I retaliated with a scowl. "The hell was that for?"

"Your wife isn't here. I figured somebody had to do it. You sound like a bleedin' idiot."

I really didn't get that. "Explain."

"You've been a better mayor 'n most of these people could hope to have. You're up with everyone else at the crack 'o dawn, you help with damn near every chore, you help repair stuff, you keep people civil with each other, god knows how but you manage to appease the nobles mosta the time… sure, ya ain't so good with the negotiatin', 'n you say dumb stuff on occasion, but we'd be hard pressed to find a more dedicated guy for mayor."

My heart threatened to coddle her praise. I quashed it by waving a hand to the window. "You seen it outside? My mayorin' is gonna pull these people t'the twelfth level of hell. If there is such a thing."

Bora shrugged. "Not your fault. Did ya call those things down on us? No. Did ya antagonize that bitch upstairs to attack us? Not that I've seen. Did ya go to war with Pagan? Only through a mistake, 'n it's a mistake we all made. You aren't to blame any more 'n the rest of us."

I wanted to argue. I tried to argue. I opened my mouth to argue, a thousand excuses mounted on my tongue and ready to launch. They never got past my teeth, 'cause Bora kissed me on the forehead to stall the attack as she got up. I fell slack-jawed instead.

She smiled. "Be a mayor, ya idiot. Give people hope. You're good at that, when you're feelin' motivated. If nuthin' else, try to convince 'em that they can fight back. People are great at fightin' when they're pressed into a corner… even if they know they've got no chance of winnin'."

She walked away to serve a drink to my father, who was glaring at me hotly in the aftermath of the kiss. Hell, I think most of the guys in the room were glaring at me. Even a life-and-death situation ain't enough to diffuse libidos.

I've been mulling over her words ever since, even while comforting Libby as she wailed over the disappearance of our son. I wondered what I could possibly do to bring these fretful, wailing people back from the brink.

Show them they can fight.

Even if it's useless.

Well… I guess I can do that…

The barrier is a poison purple as I write. Not much longer now.


  1. It's better to burn out than to fade away.

  2. Alright, if we're gonna fight, we're gonna fight HARD. Get me a shovel.

    1. Baorn Aria: You have my Shovel!
      SteewpidZombie: And my Trumpet!
      Gimli: AND MY AXE!


    2. And my broom!

      Do or die people!

  3. Way to have the inspirational moment of camaraderie BEFORE the big speech, guys. Geeeez.